Tuesday: 2 x 30′ at r22 OTW

On the water in my single.  On the upper charles in Newton.  The temp was in the low 40s and there was a reasonably strong breeze blowing from the west.  This was a headwind heading up river.

The river was incredibly high after the big storm this weekend.  The current was noticeably strong, especially at narrow points in the river.

I adjusted inboard to 85cm.  I liked the extra room that it gave me at the finish, and increased my finish angle a few degrees.  It did feel a bit heavier.  I’m wondering if I will have issues rating up.  I think I will try to move the foot stretcher another cm to stern to give me a bit more angle at the catch.


  • 2 x 30’
  • Rest between: n/a only to rehydrate
  • Rating/Pace: Cat V pace; target SR 22.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 7.50.00 PM.png

The pace variations is almost entirely driven by the wind and current.  The fastest pace was in the little stretch right after the stone bridge for both downstream segments.

This was pretty hard work.


  • 3 x (1’ on / 3’ active rest + 1’ on / 3’ active rest + 2’ on / 5’ active rest)
  • Complete one set and then repeat the series.
  • The active rest is relaxed, low intensity, easy rowing.
  • Stop only briefly to rehydrate.
  • Rating /pace: Race effort, 1k pace (your best right now)  – I will target r28 to r30, basically like the fast parts of the speed play.

Tuesday: 10 x 500 / 2′ – Cat V

Well, I have my new paces.  And a new workout to try them out with.

The description was pretty simple.

Session: 10 x 500m
Rest between: 2’
Rating/Pace: Cat V: SR 22-23
Notes: Medium tempo session. Use the faster end of your Cat V split. Focus on posture, firm core, chin level, breathing.

So, the pace target was 1:58.  This seemed pretty easy to me, so I decided to do the 2′ rests as Cat VI.  This was a bit of a challenge since I didn’t get any feedback on pace or rate.  As it turned out, my sense of rate and pace is pretty good because I took a total of 354 strokes during the 20 minutes of rest, so 17.7spm.  And I did 4661 meters over 20 minutes for a pace of 2:08.7.

Because of the way that the PM3 records strokes in ergdata, the plots are weird.  The total distance and heart rate are right, but the power, pace and rate are only accurate during the work intervals

From now on, I will setup this workout as variable intervals and record the rests as if they were work sections.

Tomorrow:  Another new session.

  • 3 sets of (5 x 500m)
  • Rest between: 1’ between each 500m
  • 5’ between each set
  • Rating/Pace: Cat IV: SR 24 <– 1:52


Sat: Hour of Power

I flew back from Taiwan, departing at about midnight, flying about 13 hours to LAX, arriving at 7pm on Friday night.  I was through customs and in the lounge by about 7:45.  I waited for my next flight, which was a 10:45 departure to Boston.  I must admit that this flight felt really long, even though it was only about 6 hours.  I watched a movie, did a couple cross word puzzles and napped a little, but I arrived in Boston feeling pretty tired and achy.

I was home by 8:00am and in bed by about 8:01.  I slept until 11:30 and I felt like I had been hit by a truck when I woke up.  After some breakfast and a littel time, I started to feel normal again.  We are having a snowstorm today in Massachusetts, so there wasn’t much to do.  I just did a little christmas shopping on line and wasted time until around 5pm.  That’s when I decided to do a bit of erging.

The plan was an hour of power.  The rules are simple.  Limit the rate to r22 and see how many meters you can get over an hour.  So, that’s what I did. My previous attempt at this was on the dynamic, so it it really didn’t count. Based on my recent workouts, I figure I was good for a 1:58 pace, so I set out with the goal to keep 1:57 or 1:58 on the screen.

All was going well until about 18 minutes into the workout when my phone abruptly rebooted.  This took away my music and my painsled session.  But there was no way that I was going to stop this row.  I was feeling good.  My HR was bit high, but I expected that since I had spent so much time on planes over the past 36 hours.  I was not in trouble at any phase in the row and I aside from boredom due to a lack of music, the row was great fun.

To make it even better, I used a feature on the Sander is in development on to turn my PM splits into a workout that I can upload to strava.  I started with a PM screen shot.

2017-12-09 17.55.48.jpg

I took the splits and I filled out a handy template in excel.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 9.04.10 PM

Then I uploaded the file, just like a normal workout file to rowsandall and exported it to strava.  And viola, the workout was there.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 9.06.54 PM.png

This is pretty cool for me because I am using Strava as the repository for all the training that I do whether it is rowing, biking, running, walking or whatever.  Generally, I will just capture heart rate data if I cross trainand I can upload that easily.  But with rowing, because the ability to link up random rowers is limited, and the reliability of the connection, even with rowers that I use all the time is uncertain, it is great to have a way to get an approximation of the heart rate data into to strava to calculate my long term training trends.

So, I was happy about that, and I was happy about the workout.  I managed a 1:57 pace for 60 minutes.  I think this portends good things for the redo of my 75′ test later this week.

Tomorrow:  A hard one… 6 x (5′ @ 28, 5′ @ 18)   wish me luck.


Monday / Tuesday: Rowing on the road

I’m writing this from the United Lounge in SFO while I wait to board my flight to Taipei.  It departs at 12:05 and I’m looking forward to spending as much time on the flight as possible asleep.


I left for California first thing Monday morning.  Before I left, I scouted potential Crossfit boxes to drop into while I was in the San Jose area.  I struck out on the first three that I contacted.  I guess that Crossfit is popular enough in the Bay Area that they don’t have the capacity to support drop ins.  The fourth place I tried, NorCal Crossfit in Santa Clara seemed happy to have me drop in and row.  Their policy was the first day was free and the second day was $30, which seemed pretty fair.

NorCal Crossfit is big!  With high ceilings and lots of floor space.  They could support a class of 20 people in the central area and additional smaller classes in other areas at the same time.  Everyone was really nice and they had an area with about 20 model D rowers all set up and nicely maintained.

I fly in the morning, then had meetings all afternoon, finishing up around 5:30pm.  Then I headed to NorCal Crossfit.  I was dehydrated, tired and hungry, but I was looking forward to a workout.

The plan was:

  • 4 x 12′ / 1’30”
  • Cat V: Pace – 2:01, rate: 22

I started off trying to use ergdata with a usb cable to the PM3.  That worked for about 8 minutes.  Then I started to get “Are you finished rowing” messages flashing up on the phone, and I would ignore.  They would go away in a few strokes and everything was fine.  However, in a minute or two, the ergdata screen stopped updating, but the PM3 kept happily counting down.  This is starting to piss me off.

The excitement of rowing in a new gym with all the activity around me caused me to row with a bit too much vigor in this first interval.  Instead of the target 2:01, I ended up with a 1:58.6 avg pace.  Bad Greg!

2017-12-04 19.11.31

So, determined to get my data, I changed machines.  The second machine I sat on, wouldn’t link up at all, and the third hung up about 3 and a half minutes into the second interval.

2017-12-04 19.10.56

By this point I had done enough experimentation on the USB connection, I decided to default to the good old days.  I connected my HR sensor to the wahoo app, which always works and did 3 more 12′ intervals that way.

2017-12-04 19.10.44

My heart rate was through the roof, even though I slowed down considerably.  At least I was able to get it to plateau around 160.



It was a pretty short workout so I am not overly worried about it being a black hole session.


Back at NorCal Crossfit.  Today, I had no desire to screw around with ergdata and usb cables.  I just went with the tried and true manual method.

The Plan:

  • 5 x 2000m / 2′ rest
    • 1500m: r22, 2:01
    • 500m: r24, 1:55

I’ve done this workout a few times before and I’ve enjoyed it every time.  Today, I set it up as a variable interval session on the PM4 of the rower I picked so I could see an accurate avg pace for each segment.  This was an elaborate 11 segment workout that I managed to get exactly right the first time I tried.  It sure made me wish that there was a way to define workouts in an app and download them to the PM.  Maybe someday.

Anyway, the workout went great.  HR was a bit high, but was generally reasonable for the lack of sleep and large amount of caffeine that I had consumed during the day.  I tried to behave during all the reps until the last 500, when I got a bit crossfit happy.  I maintained the 24 spm rate, but pushed the pace below 1:50.  It was a very satisfying way to finish.



That’s a bit hard to deal with, so here it is in spreadsheet form.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 1.13.27 AM

So, now I am flying to Taipei.  I will arrive around 6am local time.  I’m planning to go to the hotel, check in, take a quick nap and then head to the office for some meetings.  Then to a customer event in the afternoon and evening.  I lose Wednesday to time zones and Thursday is a rest day.


Tuesday: 5 x 2000 / 2′ (1500 @ 22, 500 @24)

Tuesday was a bit of a jumble.  I had to be at an offsite meeting at 8am to give some opening remarks, so no morning workout.  Then by 9am, I was on my way the office.  I couple of meetings brought me to around 12:45pm, when I headed off to the gym to do my planned session.

  • 5 x 2000m / 2′ rest
    • 1500m: r22, 2:01
    • 500m: r24, 1:55

Before that, I did the ever expanding set of corrective exercises from the PT.  These are starting to be a real time sink.  I hope the benefit is worth the training time that I am devoting to it.  The exercises have 3 purposes.  First to correct the imbalance between my hips and glutes.  Second to work a bunch of adhesions out of my quads and IT bands and improve hip flexibility.  Third to strength the helper muscles in abdomen to improve my ability to rock over and hold a strong position at the catch and finish with a very stable back.  I guess this is the perfect time of year to work on these issues, but I find it to be maddening drudgery.  I have to look at it as if it was a standard medical prescription and take my medicine.

I noticed that I felt more fatigued from my PT exercises , and I wondering if I was either coming down with the cold that was going through my family last week at Thanksgiving, or just worn out from my battles with the dynamic erg.  At any rate, I thought the erg session would be a struggle, and it was.  This is the same session that I did on 11/17 and 11/21.  The one on 11/21 was remarkably good.  This was a lot more like the one on the 17th.  High heart rates, but otherwise entirely manageable.

I started with a 2000m warmup, basically starting around 2:15 and speeding up to do the last 500m at my target 2:01 pace.

Then into the intervals.  I still want to pull a bit faster at r22 than a 2:01 pace, so I really needed to focus on light strokes, limited layback, and fast hands away to keep from either pulling 1:59s at r22, or 2:01s at r21.  This was actually a really good way to keep my brain engaged in the technique notes that I’ve been getting from Marlene.

As I said above, my HR was high, but I felt good through the session and pleasantly tired, but not beaten up at the end.

I finished with a 2000 happy ending cool down.


          Workout Summary - media/20171128-1920330o.csv
Workout Details

Wednesday is a planned rest day.  I’m flying down to Texas for a couple of meetings.  I’m going to try to find a crossfit box for a workout tomorrow morning. The planned session is a nice easy endurance workout.

  • 3 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI (r18, 2:06)

I’m pretty pleased with how things are going lately.  November is going to be my highest monthly training time in almost 2 years. Here is training time per month going back to May of 2013.  The last time a set a PB was January of 2016.  Do you notice something different in the graph before January of 2016 and after?  I sure do.


By a strange coincidence, I got a promotion just about 2 years ago and the amount of travel and work hours ramped up at that time.  If I look closely at the months with low training totals, some of them correlate to months with a ton of travel (Feb-17, July-17), but other correlate with injuries (12-16 – knee surgery, 9-17 – back injury).

So, my conclusion is that I can probably manage about 30 training hours a month.  This would include rowing hours plus aerobic cross training.  It does not include PT stretches and exercises.  If I am traveling heavily, there will be more cross training hours and fewer rowing hours, and most likely a couple of extra “no training” days.

I think one adjustment that makes sense to is approach my schedule to do longer “easy” sessions when I have a time window to do it, and even extend them from 80 minutes to up to 2 hours, if I have the time.  I think there is a strong correlation between total training time and results.


Sunday: Hour of not much power

God I hate this damn machine.  Still at home on the dynamic.


  • 60 minutes
  • Rate: 22
  • Pace: ~2:00 or better

Should have been a piece of cake.

Started with a 5 minute warmup.

  • 1 minute of pause at arms away and body over
  • 1 minute at target pace
  • 1 minute of pause at arms away
  • 1 minute at target pace
  • 1 minute of pause at arms away

Then in to the main event.  60 minutes.  I set up a nice playlist on Pandora and got going.  After about 5 minutes, my music stopped playing.  I tried to fix it while rowing, but with no success.  After a couple minutes of trying to hold the pace while fiddling, I ripped off the headphones and flung them across the room and kept going.  It was the longest 50 minutes of my life.

As I suspected, holding a 2:00 split on the dynamic was too much for me and I had to slow down.  I crossed the 30 minute mark right at 7500 meters, but by then i was seeing a lot more 2:01s and 2:02s.  My HR was going pretty good, but plateaued in the low 170s for the second half of the row.  When the music stopped, it also blew away my painsled session, so the only evidence of my pain is the PM picture.

Tomorrow:  Scheduled rest day, but since I have business travel later in the week, I will do Tuesday’s session.

  • 4 x 12′ / 1″30″
  • rate: 22
  • pace: 2:01 to 2:05
  • HR limit: 157

Tuesday: 5 x 2000 (1500 @ 22, 500 @ 24) / 2′

The Plan:

  • 5 x 2000 / 2′
  • 1500m @ r22, pace 2:01-2:05
  • 500m @ r24, pace 1:55 exactly
  • Additional notes:
    • Try to hit rates exactly.
    • Try to hit 2:01 exactly.
    • Concentrate on back position at catch and finish
  • HR limit:  Stay below 155 in the 1500

I did this workout last Friday and I enjoyed it.  It was not too hard, but a little spicy.  Trying to stick at 2:01 at r22 is a challenge.  I tend to naturally pull about a 1:59 at r22, so I have to concentrate on lightening my stroke and keeping my hands moving.  These are both good things.

I started with a 2k warmup and finished with a 2k cool down so I could do the whole thing as a single interval workout.  I think it makes for a particularly satisfying summary plot.


          Workout Summary - media/20171121-1345370o.csv
Workout Details

I felt like the workout had gone a lot easier than when I had done it last Friday.  A comparison of the two workouts helped me figure out if that was true.

First, I was much better at keeping rate this time, especially for the r22 sections.  I mean look at the fourth one!


In terms of target power, I did a better job hitting my targets this time, especially at r24, but that did help make the workout easier.  You can see me consciously bleeding off power toward the end of the 1500m segments to try to hit 2:01 exactly.  I let myself have some fun in the last interval today, just like last time.


Now for Heart rate.  This shows that it was an easier workout.  I started at a higher HR because I warmed up today, but my HR did not drift up during the workout.



So, that’s a happy thing.


  • 3 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI
  • Pace 2:06-2:11
  • rate: 18-20
  • HR limit: 145,150,150

I’ll be doing this one on the dynamic, so I’ll probably work at about a 2:09 pace.

Monday: 4 x 12′ / 1’30” Cat V

In the fitness center around noon.

The plan:

  • 4 x 12′ / 1’30”
  • Rate: 22
  • Pace: 2:01 – 2:05
  • HR Limit: 155

The intent of this session is to work at a specified pace and stroke rate.  For me, it is also a chance to focus on the new stuff that I need to fix in my posture and technique.

The biggest challenge I had was getting to the target stroke rate and rowing lightly enough to avoid going too fast.  I ended up failing on both accounts.  My stroke rate ended up a bit low, and my pace ended up a little fast.

         Workout Summary - media/20171120-1800320o.csv
Workout Details

It got a bit better as my legs got a bit tired.  But I feel like I can do a better job with it.  I was happy to see my HR plateau around 150 in the workout.  That’s a hopeful sign.


  • 5 x 2000 / 2′
  • 1500m @ r22, pace 2:01-2:05
  • 500m @ r24, pace 1:55 exactly